Losing the West (2013) is a new documentary film that looks at the question of pressures on land and life in all its forms as urban development and population continually increases. Directed by Alex Warren, the film follows the story of 70 year-old Colorado cowboy Howard Linscott as an example of how small ranching and farming is becoming subsumed by an urban and industrial way of life that has been argued to be unsustainable.

The film seeks to expand from Linscott’s story – which represents a number of Western traditions within an independent lifestyle – into larger questions of conservation, food and approaches to development.  Some of the startling facts shared by the documentary include the statistic that the United States loses 6,000 acres of open space each day – this is an average of 4 acres per minute. In the context of the American West, it is estimated that by 2050 at the latest, 50 million more people will be living west of the Mississippi River thus putting further pressure on already limited resources such as water and soil and further stress on the indigenous wildlife.

Losing the West does not propose that this is a defeated situation – the documentary also explores both rural and urban ideas as to sustainability. A variety of voices are consulted in the film – individual insights range from the Center of the American West to the environmental organization TreePeople to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. Here is the trailer for Losing the West:

Screenings for the film have now taken place and further information about the documentary can be found at this link: Losing The West

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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